Timeline of Britain
Introduction: Britain’s rich and varied history
Since prehistoric times, Britain has been inhabited by various groups of people. The Roman invasion in 43 AD, led by Emperor Claudius, brought about the first written records of Britain. The Romans were eventually driven out in 410 AD and Britain entered into a period of turmoil. Various Germanic tribes invaded and conquered different parts of the country. In 1066, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded and successfully conquered England. The Norman Conquest marked the beginning of a new era for Britain and led to significant changes in British society and culture. Over the centuries, Britain has been ruled by a number of different monarchs and has experienced periods of prosperity as well as decline. Today, Britain is a prosperous country with a rich and varied history.
Prehistoric Britain: Neanderthals, hunter-gatherers, the first farmers
The first humans to inhabit Britain were Neanderthals, who arrived around 230,000 years ago. They were hunter-gatherers, and the only evidence we have of them are the bones and tools they left behind. The next wave of humans to arrive were the first farmers, who came from the Middle East around 9,000 years ago. They brought with them new technologies, such as farming and metalworking, and gradually replaced the Neanderthals.
The Roman Invasion: Julius Caesar’s failed invasions, the conquering of Britain by Claudius
The Roman Invasion of Britain was a series of attempted invasions of the island by the Roman Empire. The first attempt, led by Julius Caesar in 55 BC, ended in disaster when his forces were defeated by the Britons at the Battle of Alesia. The second attempt, led by Claudius in 43 AD, was more successful and resulted in the conquest of southern Britain. However, the Romans were never able to conquer the north of the island and eventually withdrew from Britain in 410 AD.
The Saxon Invasion: The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, the creation of England
The Anglo-Saxon invasions of Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries AD were among the most significant events in British history. They led to the creation of England as a separate country, and the English language became dominant in Britain. The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic people who migrated to Britain from continental Europe. They defeated the Romano-British in battle, and eventually absorbed most of their culture. Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were established in southern and eastern England, while the Romano-British remained dominant in the north and west.
The Viking Invasion: The Danes in England, Alfred the Great and the Battle of Edington
In 865, the Viking Great Heathen Army landed in East Anglia and began their campaign to conquer England. The Danish Vikings were led by Ivar the Boneless and his brothers Halfdan and Ubba. In 871, the Danes defeated the Mercians at the Battle of Ashdown and in 878 they defeated King Alfred of Wessex at the Battle of Chippenham. However, in 878 Alfred won a decisive victory over the Danes at the Battle of Edington. This led to the Treaty of Wedmore, which recognized Alfred as king of Wessex.
The Norman Invasion: William the Conqueror and the Harrying of the North
In 1066, William the Conqueror led a Norman invasion of England and defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. After his victory, William ruthlessly suppressed any resistance in the north of England, earning himself the nickname “William the Bastard.” The Harrying of the North resulted in widespread famine and death, and effectively ended Anglo-Saxon England.
The Wars of the Roses: The Houses of Lancaster and York, Henry Tudor and the Battle of Bosworth Field
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the English throne fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the Houses of Lancaster and York. The conflict lasted from 1455 to 1485, and resulted in the victory of the House of Tudor (York) over the House of Lancaster.
The origins of the conflict lie in the deposition of Richard II by Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV), Duke of Lancaster, in 1399. Bolingbroke claimed his right to the throne through his mother, John of Gaunt’s legitimized mistress Katherine Swynford. Lancastrian support for Henry IV was tempered by continuing resentment over Aquitaine and disagreements about military strategy in France.
The Tudor Dynasty: Henry VII, VIII, IX and X
The Tudor Dynasty was a time of great change in England. The dynasty began with Henry VII, who restored the monarchy after the War of the Roses. He was followed by his son, Henry VIII, who is best known for his many wives and dissolving of the Catholic Church in England. Henry was succeeded by his son Edward VI, who was only a child when he came to the throne and died a few years later. Edward was succeeded by his sister Mary I, who is also known for her many executions of Protestants. Mary was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I, who reigned for 44 years and is considered one of the most successful English monarchs.
Today : Modern Britain
Since the turn of the century, Britain has undergone some dramatic changes. Today, it is a multicultural society with a diverse population. The country is also home to a large number of immigrants, many of whom have made significant contributions to British society. In addition, Britain is a leading member of the European Union and plays a major role in the global economy. Despite these changes, there are still some aspects of British culture that remain unique to the country.
Brexit is a term that refers to the potential withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). The UK’s membership in the EU has been a topic of debate since it joined in 1973. In 2016, a referendum was held in which UK voters were asked whether they wanted to remain in the EU or leave. The majority (52%) of voters chose to leave, and on March 29, 2017, the UK officially began the process of leaving. The terms of Brexit have not yet been finalized, and there is much speculation about what will happen once the UK is no longer a member of the EU.